Correctional Health Care: Develop an Exposure Control Plan

Develop an Exposure Control Plan

Why is an Exposure Control Plan important?

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If one of your workers is exposed to an inmate’s blood, he or she may need to be examined and tested, undergo counseling and possibly treatment. Workers who are exposed to a bloodborne disease may have to take time off work to cope with the illness. This impacts your worker, his or her family, and other staff who may have to fill in.

An Exposure Control Plan is important because it helps you protect your workers from exposures to blood and other body fluids*. By protecting your workers, you also control exposure incident costs.

An Exposure Control Plan is meant to be a “living” document, used as a source of information for answering bloodborne pathogen-related questions and to help ensure exposure control activities are in place. If exposures to blood or other body fluids* are reasonably anticipated, you are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens Standard to develop an Exposure Control Plan.

Be sure your facility’s Exposure Control Plan meets OSHA’s criteria

According to the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, an Exposure Control Plan must meet certain criteria:

  • It must be written specifically for each facility1
  • It must be reviewed and updated at least yearly (to reflect changes such as new worker
  • positions or technology used to reduce exposures to blood or body fluids)1,2
  • It must be be readily available to all workers1,2

You must regularly educate your workers on the uses of the Exposure Control Plan and where it’s kept, so it is available when needed.2

OSHA developed a model template, the Model Plans and Programs for the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens and Hazard Communications Standardspdf iconexternal icon, which includes a guide for creating an Exposure Control Plan that meets the requirements of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.

For a brochure that addresses common issues among correctional facilities’ Exposure Control Plans, download a copy of Protect Your Employees with an Exposure Control Planpdf icon.

* “Other body fluids” includes other potentially infectious material, such as semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and amniotic fluids, and any other body fluid that contains visible blood.

  1. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) 2003. Model Plans and Programs for the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens and Hazard Communications Standardspdf iconexternal icon.
  2. (29 CFR Part 1910.1030) Bloodborne Pathogen Standardexternal icon. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Page last reviewed: August 18, 2010